“…Things start meaning something when they end: because that’s when the story begins.” Not your story, not mine either, as Edgar said. Whatever happens: it’s our story.”
Key words: strength, will, power, victim, sex, pain, ecstasy, hate, faith, endurance, patience, suffering, obedience, indifference, incident, death
It’s the sign of the times – you either turn against everyone else, or see the enemy in yourself…or you just flicker until something happens. Maybe you’re slowly, silently committing suicide – there are countless ways to do so.
Everything happens in the name of survival. Survival, physical survival begins to mean something when hunger starts…then comes distrust with suspicious looks, and slimy, empty, otherwise courteous smiles. Even when it’s been physically overcome, hunger remains, and becomes a habit – hunger for more, a chronic hunger born from the feeling of inner emptiness…
You want to survive, and prosper. Money is the sign of the times. But the auction price of a soul has not been announced yet. Faust is out.
Unhappiness means you’ve been a victim of bad circumstance, at least that’s the way you want to see it, otherwise you’d have to admit you’ve been running against yourself for a long time. You’ve set off without knowing who you are, until one day you’re standing in front of your own remains. You try to gather them, try to collect yourself…you try to stick the pieces into place with dry spit. Nobody notices you, you don’t notice anybody. Until someone reaches for the integrity you’ve glued together. Outrage rises from your guts and you’re ready to kill. You suppress the instinct, but your blood has been poisoned. The venom reaches your brain. It leads you to masochism. You become sadistic towards your own self. What must be tolerated, how much more of it, and for how much longer… you accept your fate. It must have been written in the stars. You dare not start writing, so you start drinking. Like many others, it’s customary, it’s the sign of the times, and times are hard, they’re not getting any better. You see red. Someone’s in your way, quite by accident, unsuspecting. It turns out that your way is invisible. What a pity. A pity for that someone. You realize later, but it’s a bit too late. Until you too end up in someone’s way, unsuspecting…
The desire to understand the relevant present inevitably raises questions about issues like aggression, auto-aggression, and accident. It is unnecessary to mention the active content of these three ideas, since we are not only witnesses, but also participants, dramatis personae, conscious or involuntary executives or victims. In other words, aggression, auto-aggression, and accident not only surround us as part of our everyday lives - they are within us, and we, whether we realize it or not, are the instrument leading to what we call "mortification."
The project "Aggression, Auto-aggression, Accident" will attempt to scrutinize, analyze, visualize, interpret, and theorize, with the help of an organized theoretic discussion, artistic interpretation and practices, the reasons and tendencies in today's world concerning psychological balance on an individual level alongside the tensions unbalancing the present social/political reality. They cannot be defined, analyzed, or interpreted in religious, ethnic, urban, national, or regional isolation in a time we claim is global.
"Aggression, Auto-aggression, Accident" aims to provoke, encompass, and describe issues from within the psyche; the personal process of reacting against socialized global reality, which will become evident through the practice we call art. The project will also analyze the inter-subjective relationships in the general frame of social/political relations, the platform of which is the global financial capital known as relevant critical thought/theory.
The two sides of aggression, viewed from the banal metaphor of the coin, give it respectively authenticity and value.
Aggression as government politics does not excite the imagination unless you are either part or a victim of such politics. Aggression as government politics is evident, clear, the signs are everywhere, mostly on international news broadcasts. It is less evident in the local news, invisible in everyday life…
Aggression in everyday life is a whole other issue. It is dislodged, eroticized, pathologized, criminalized, and taboo. Dislodged aggression has no choice but to turn inward, becoming auto-aggression, the results of which we as respectable, active, and diligent citizens refuse to accept as anything other than an accident. What follows is, at best, a fleeting compassion and desire for charity, usually around Christmas time.
If, according to Freud, aggression constitutes the world, if the displeasure of departing from the mother's breast, the discomfort of disrupted happiness, when the calm utterly timeless bliss of cooing, sucking, and evenly distributed warmth is shattered, ripped apart, and demolished, the cry of outrage signals the existence of a world, on the outside, and another, be it hostile, but also desired, indispensable, needed. Wanting, the vulgar, wild wanting to have and to hold is here. Aggression constitutes the world, therefore through aggression the world is, or is it?
If aggression constitutes the world, does auto-aggression constitute the inside world, alienated or otherwise the result of presumptive dissatisfaction, an inner battle of the utopic trinity of Soul, Body and Spirit, the evident and fatal damage in the retaliation of the Onlooker are none other than an accident, mal chance, bad luck, fate, etc. a battle in which if the Body looses, that means Death, if the Soul looses, Hell follows, if the Spirit looses - along comes Misery. The choice is yours.
And now - the Good Luck Girls…
Goodness is submission, obedience. Freedom is always open to rebellion. Goodness is
connected to the impenetrable character of the rule.
The utopian morality of freedom melts into the conventional morality, which unites people
into a system of obligations. Only the morality of communication - and the devotion, which
determines communication, surpasses utilitarian morality.
…tears are the climax in the emotion of communication…
The theory panel intends to clarify and theoretically define the possible aspects of interpreting aggression, auto-aggression, and accident as a living part of our present. Theoreticians from the fields of sociology, psychology, philosophy, and aesthetics will be invited to present their views and analysis according to their given field concerning aggression, auto-aggression, accident, the reasons, the way they work, what they lead to, and their consequences in individual/personal and social/public aspects.
The suggested themes are only intended to give a general outline to the possible scope of development of the discourse. The necessary direction and focus of the discussion will emerge through the interpretations of the theoretic panel, thus avoiding any prior steering or limitation in quest and analysis.
· Aggression as a pursuit of life
· Suppressed aggression – a requirement for the functioning of an individual in contemporary society
· Suppressed aggression – depression, implosion, cancer?
· Suppressed aggression as depression or death drive (Freud)
· Auto-destruction (a pursuit of death) enjoying self-destruction
· The hostile world? And/or the hostile “self”
· The Other – always an enemy, “I am The Other,” the war begins
· War – violence instead of power, the use of power in a pure, peremptory way
· The aesthetics of horror
· Fucking – aggressive, auto-aggressive or a good/bad coincidence
· Indolence and indifference. Private space and freedom. Alienation – the final straw (imperial rule – divide and conquer)
· Accident – the innocent passers-by
· Constraint, power, violence, passivity
· Faith, ecstasy, hate
· The division of soul, spirit, and body – off and online practices, chat-rooms, the gym, plastic surgery…Division and stress.
· Uncertainty in the body and its origin – genetic engineering – aggression towards the individual on a molecular level
· Flight from reality – a way out, a necessity, or a dead end – the loneliness of the long- distance runner (my “self” ‘s contemporary)
A relevant analysis by a panel of interested theoreticians from the fields of philosophy, sociology, cultural and political science, psychoanalysis, and aesthetics in an attempt to:
· Clarify the present-day actions and behavior of the globalized individual as a part of the mechanics of power.
· Follow the psychopathological resonance of globalized capital in private practice and life.
· Research whether the present system of ideology produces crises and ideological “black holes,” and whether fascism is developing into new dimensions as a totalitarian system, when in fact the main economic system is global and total. Ways and means for making aggression legitimate.
· Define what a “good” citizen means today and how that individual functions as a supposed citizen of the world. Tolerance, political correctness, and cultivated aggression.
· Figure out if today’s “good” citizen of the world is considered the American citizen and why.
· Define aggressive patriotism, or globally applied patriotism.
· See how and why today’s ideological system produces personal crises and emotional and moral breakdowns, and seek ways for remedying that.
· Personal economy, virtualizing personal space, and the destructive consequences on the psyche due to the body’s escape into virtual space.
· Accident – something bad suddenly happens (personal); an incident, death…is it just a bad coincidence; bad luck; karma, or do we intentionally/involuntarily avoid or dismiss the fact that maybe:
1. The accident is a result of people’s passivity, and that can be considered “passive aggression?” 2. The accident as a result of suppressed aggression (which, according to traditional – Freudian – psychoanalysis, is pure depression!) To what extent is suppressing aggressive instinct part of the required incorporation into contemporary society, and what are the psychological consequences for the individual. Is there a relevant substitute today for the ritual channeling of aggression primitive societies had (sacrificial offerings) in order to vent out aggression instead of suppress it…? When somebody “looses it,” the result is only and always chronicled as an “accident.” 3. The accident as a result of auto-aggression, in other words, as a death drive (Freud)
· Sexual relations, limitations, and taboos, the aggression and auto-aggression that accompanies them as a potential possibility drawn from such limitations and taboos.
· What could be assumed a consequence or damage caused by new screen communication via the Internet and new technology where physical contact is practically zero. Aggressive Autism.
· Must we consider ourselves actual participants in the political world today and how?
· The meaning and meaninglessness of passive/active perception of the present as a unified social/political system – a no-win situation?
· How and why must contemporary value systems be rationalized and can that affect theoretical concepts concerning the social/political system outside of perfecting it as a device for control, power, and exploitation?
· What is anarchy?
· Can violence be used against authority?
· Anarchy of the mind – causes, reasons, results, epilog
· The need for conclusions.
Format of the theory panel
two days within the “Aggression…” exhibit
· Points of Departure
o Historical Helmut Berding
§ Theunissen /Freie Universitaet, Berlin,/
§ Slavoj Zizek,
§ Sally Jane NORMAN /France/ paper ‘aggression as a theatre as aggression’
§ Klemens Golf /Germany/
§ Baudrillard /under investigation/
o Psychological /under construction/
o Biological Konrad Lorenz
o Theology /under construction/
Dimiter Sashev, philosopher / confirmed
Prof. Bogdan Bogdanov / tbc
Zlatomir Zlatanov, paper ‘The Bulgarian Oedipus’ / confirmed/
Orlin Todorov, psychotherapist/confirmed/
Angel Angelov / tbc
Alexander Marinov, psychiatrist / tbc
Ivan Stanev (Berlin, Paris)
The Sofia City Art Gallery
The National Academy of Art, Sofia
Conducting the symposium
Printing the full texts of lectures and presentations in an exhibition catalog or as a separate publication
Part of the project will be presented as an exhibit of contemporary art and will intend to research through the self-analysis of selected artists their attitude towards themselves within the frame of the key words and the themes of the theory panel. They will, therefore, present by means of contemporary art the seeds and germ of violence; the hidden and evident self-destructive instincts of the individual; the fear and aggression of survival. They will attempt to raise questions concerning the extent to which the methods of social control influence the individual’s psyche; the importance of self-appreciation; how human nature can be expressed and summed up into social moods and tendencies channeled by the dominating ideology in wars and military operations. The contemporary context of humanism/humanity and where the innate personal psychological imperative concerning the Other lies, and what freedom means in that respect. If it is true that “my freedom ends where yours starts,” then obviously that is also where indifference towards the Other begins. And the victims of indifference are classified as “accidents.” The project also intends to inquire how and where exactly the said personal freedom ends, that invisible, personal Gaza Strip, overrun and questioned daily. Violence will be researched as an individual’s innate potential and/or a natural reaction provoked by circumstance, which, if suppressed, turns inward, and leads to self-destruction. A self-destruction that may reach collective dimensions.
· To seek, find, research, and interpret the reasons for and the forms of individual aggression, auto-aggression, passive auto-aggression that develops and becomes evident only as an accident.
· To figure out the way in which collective aggression is a sum of multiple personal aggressions.
· To research to what extent aggression is a destructive and self-destructive instinct when directed inward.
· To inquire whether the personal, individual, intimate, and secret desire for aggression is universal, operative, and not subject to geographical regions, social background, and development of the community.
· To inquire if aggression is voicelessly encouraged and whether it is a natural part of a contemporary individual’s behavior in today’s capitalist social/political system.
· To present for reconsideration the customary, basic, and leading ideas in social conscience concerning violence, pain, misery, unhappiness, and death from a personal, intimate, and emotional point of view, along with the intimate, personal, vulnerable feelings in life and the relativity of the ideas good/bad, meaning/meaninglessness, winner/victim, bliss/suffering, success/loss…prosperity.
In this respect, the project will be left open for developments and additions to be made by the international participants even after it has been completed and presented to the public.
· By means of contemporary visual art and the personal views of the participating artists, to raise questions and seek answers from the public as to why human actions and behaviors are criminalized, psychoanalysed, made a visible/invisible part of official government politics and political conduct, thus becoming more or less taboo.
- Selection of contemporary artists with an active interest in occurances on a local, regional, and global basis, with a tendency towards self-analysis, and with an active personal and creative viewpoint.
- Conducting individual discourse regarding the themes of the project as an attempt to outline the individual presentation of each of the artists.
- Holding a meeting-discussion of the general theme and presenting/sharing the individual projects orally and in writing.
- Combining projects with a similar stylistic approach.
- Realization of the individual projects.
- Organizing the exhibit.
- Conducting a public discussion (for the duration of the exhibit) of the theme and the questions raised by the artists in the course of their work.
- Issuing a bilingual catalog and a multimedia disc which will include illustrations of the works as a final result of the complete composition, along with the process of their realization – texts, personal preliminary notes, audio and video archives from the discussion and meeting held on the subject of the theme. The catalog will include as an essential part the texts and presentations of the theoretical symposium “Aggression, Auto-aggression, Accident.”
- Completing a web-site with its own address that will chronicle the stages of development and the final result of the project.
- Presenting the project as a working plan and its results abroad at appropriate theoretical and art forums.
- Open stage: developing the project with international participation.
Specifications of style and genre
It is assumed that the contemporary aspects of presenting and perceiving aggression manipulation, auto-aggression, and accident are visually and stylistically defined (pre-defined) by mass-communication. In this respect, the use of means of expression derived from electronic processing and presenting information in accord with the defined and specified stylistics of the press are preferred and encouraged.
- video art and video installations
- sound installations and single-channel audio-projects
- photography (classic, black and white)
- digital photography
- interactive multimedia installations and CD-ROM
- Internet projects
- printed materials (posters, postcards, billboards)
- installations and sites
- conceptual art
- fine art / sculpture
Participants in the exhibit
Shelly Siliver www.shellysilver.com
Jordan Crandall /USA/
Klemens Golf /Germany/
Vanda Playford /UK/
Adina Bar-on /israel/
Clarisse Hahn /France
tanja Ostojic belgrade/dusseldorf/ http://www.cac.org.mk/capital/projects/tanja/
david d'agostino /USA/bulgaria
URTICA art and media research group /YU/
Aleksander Gubas – belgrade
Guia Rigvava germany/georgia,russia
Stephanie Benzaquen /co-curator/ - opal gallery Tel Aviv /israel/
Michael Gillespie /Foxy Productions NYC/
paula boettcher /co-curator/ galerie paula boettcher berlin http://www.galeriepaulaboettcher.de/
Ileana Teleaga /co-curator/ West University , Timisoara, Romania/ confirmed
Jurij Krpan /co-curator/ confirmed/ kapelica gallery ljubliana
susane jaschko transmediale berlin // confirmed under certain conditions/
Aleksander Gubas /Belgrade
Mark Paulline/Survival Reasearch Laboratiries/USA www.srl.org /tbc
Lilia Abadjieva /directior/ /confirmed/
Raina Markova, writer sofia/burgas/ confirmed/ http://submagenta.dir.bg/
oleg mavromatti russia/ confirmed/
Peter Canev artist/ confirmed/
Dr. Galentin Gatev, artist, dermatologist, veneorologist/ confirmed/
Boryana Dragoeva, artist http://hammer.prohosting.com/~dragoeva/
Ventsislav zankov/me/, www.ctrl-z.org/zankov
adelina popnedeleva/ confirmed/
Nadejda Lyahova, artist
NO POINT GROUP /sofia
Video screenings/ presentations
Susanne Jaschko transmediale (Berlin) / confirmed/
Mark Paulline/Survival Reasearch Laboratiries/USA www.srl.org /tbc
Zadruga , Belgrade
Milentiye Pandilovski (Macedonia), co-curator /?/
Dimos Dimitrios (Greece) /?/
By presenting reflections in the form of a complete art production and practical artistic realization, to invoke a public discussion of the place and role of the person in relation to the person’s own life as opposed to the Other, the others; the person’s place as an object within the person’s own self and an object of society in critical, manipulative, consumer, ideological, predefined, and personal situations which provoke violence. With its successful realization, the project inevitably raises the question of place, role, and meaning of the contemporary artist as an active subject of relevant social reality.
The purpose of the discussion forum is to raise a public discussion regarding the exhibited works of art, as well as the claims made by the theory panel through an informal meeting between the theoreticians interested in the theme, the participants in the exhibit with the results of their work and reflections on their work process, the audience, and the general public.
Conducting the discussion forum
- The participating artists will present their works and/or viewpoint of the present within the frame of “Aggression, Auto-aggression, Accident.”
- Commentary of theoreticians and specialists interested in the theme
- Questions and comments by the audience and the press
The exhibition hall, among the works of art exhibited
During the exhibit, after the theory panel is held
May 13, 2002
To be continued:
In the next episode…
That’s a first.
Patriotism is en vogue, homemade – patriotism at home, homicide at home; if the Earth is home, then who are the hosts? At home, the best thing to be is the pet…